I Am the Man Who Denied Your Healthcare Claims

In Healthcare On
- Updated

SEATTLE — I’m 35 years old. I didn’t go to college after high school. Instead I got a job in insurance, and I’ve spent half my life on the business side of keeping people healthy. Only once have I felt that the industry took positive steps toward insuring America, and that was when Obamacare mandated it.

I assumed Donald Trump’s presidency would doom the law. A Republican replacement, which could cut off insurance for millions of people, could pass the Senate as soon as next week. And I fear that most Americans, who don’t really worry about their health until they get sick, won’t be willing to fight against it.

Only when you’ve done what I’ve done will you understand what will happen if the Republicans destroy Obamacare.

My first job in the industry was at a company that helped businesses administer their employees’ insurance benefits. It needed people to man the call center during the open enrollment season, when those lucky enough to have insurance through their jobs made coverage elections for the coming year. I had no experience, but I smiled when I thought it was appropriate and tried to look as if I belonged.

I had thought America was a country where people made choices for themselves. The training course taught me that, on the contrary, people typically obtained health insurance from their employer and had the cost and the coverage largely dictated to them. I learned about “pre-existing conditions,” a term that would soon be notorious. I paid attention because, although I was 19, I already knew that I would eventually need to have my hip replaced. If I had a break in medical coverage, I could be facing those costs on my own.

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